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Engraving of Olaudah Equiano, from the frontispiece of the Interesting Narrative  

Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African

According to his famous autobiography, written in 1789, Olaudah Equiano (c.1745-1797) was born in what is now Nigeria. Kidnapped and sold into slavery in childhood, he was taken as a slave to the New World. As a slave to a captain in the Royal Navy, and later to a Quaker merchant, he eventually earned the price of his own freedom by careful trading and saving. As a seaman, he travelled the world, including the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the Atlantic, and the Arctic, the latter in an abortive attempt to reach the North Pole. Coming to London, he became involved in the movement to abolish the slave trade, an involvement which led to him writing and publishing The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African (1789) a strongly abolitionist autobiography. The book became a bestseller and, as well as furthering the anti-slavery cause, made Equiano a wealthy man. These web pages aim to reflect the best in Equiano scholarship. Click on the links below to find out more, and return to this site soon, as information is regularly updated.

    Title page of the 1789 edition of the Interesting Narrative  


Other Relevant Pages on this Website

Cover of the Penguin Edition of the Interesting Narrative Cover of Vincent Carretta's biography of Equiano



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* The Equiano Website was created in June 2000 *
* This page last updated on 14 October 2013 * © Brycchan Carey 2000-2012 *
* This page is: http://www.brycchancarey.com/equiano/index.htm *